Despite not having learned to read, Becky, a woman in her fifties, nonetheless had managed to complete high school and earn a nursing assistant's certificate. Although she could recognize letters and words on a page, she could not understand what they meant. A good memory, good friends, and loyal co-workers propelled her through school and work, but she always feared that her inability to read would be discovered. Finally, she took a step she had been dreading for years and began to look for someone who could teach her to read. Becky found READ/San Diego and has become one of the program's most enthusiastic and faithful clients. Today, Becky reads and comprehends written materials of all kinds. She also has earned a GED diploma and gone to college, receiving an R.N. degree. Becky continues to work with her READ/San Diego tutors—and has no intention of stopping.
READ/San Diego, run by the city of San Diego with some state and county funding, is a volunteer- and library-based literacy program offering individual literacy instruction, GED preparation, workplace literacy instruction, and family literacy services. Thousands of learners like Becky have been paired with individual tutors or enrolled in small classes arranged by READ/San Diego. Tutor-learner pairs meet at branch libraries, in churches, and at local businesses throughout San Diego County and the city. Partnerships with these organizations enable READ/San Diego to reach deep into the community to serve learners—in rural communities, shelters for the homeless, faith-based organizations in inner-city neighborhoods, a tiny mountain hamlet on the Mexican border, a suburban Starbucks store—wherever adults or families in need of literacy skills live and work.